Monday, December 9, 2013

Health funding will benefit regional Queensland

No one can argue that there has long been a shortage of skilled health workers to service regional areas of Australia. This is an issue training providers, universities and governments alike have worked to address over the years.

There are many reasons why there are shortages in regional and remote Australia but a common explanation usually relates to difficulties in luring health professionals away from larger cities and the lifestyles these metropolitan centres can offer – especially to young people.

I have always said that those who study local, are more likely to stay local and this couldn’t be more true when it comes to health professionals. Students who leave their regional hometowns to study at metro universities are less likely to return home after completing their studies and regional universities find it harder to attract students from larger cities. If we can do something to turn this around and encourage people to study at their regional university or to relocate and study in a regional centre I think we can start to fill this void.

This is why I congratulate the Federal Government on their recent announcement to fund almost 300 additional places in postgraduate health programs at CQUniversity.

The Government has recognised the need for highly trained health professionals in regional Queensland and CQUniversity has demonstrated a strong capacity to deliver educational pathways.

Students are the big winners because they will now have more options to further their studies and become highly trained health professionals upon completion. I hope this will go a long way in both encouraging people (especially recent school leavers) to stay in Central Queensland to study and luring students from the city to study with us.

The other big winner will of course be regional Queensland communities who will benefit access to health professionals on their doorstep.

This is such a positive development not just for CQUniversity but other regional universities, as this type of funding supports universities, that are serving communities with the highest demand for skilled workers. 

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